Drivers falling asleep at the wheel have been a concern for Massachusetts lawmakers. Earlier this year, a bill was introduced that addressed fatigued driver concerns and suggested solutions — including educating Massachusetts driver’s license applicants on the effects of sleep deprivation and driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Whether new laws are passed or not, it’s likely that many people will continue to drive while sleepy. According to DrowsyDriving.org, 60 percent of drivers in the U.S. said they’d driven while sleepy over the past year. More than one third of those said they’d actually fallen asleep behind the wheel. Falling asleep for only an instant can have tragic results. The Press Democrat reported on the story of a California man who fell asleep while driving, crossed into an oncoming lane and hit another vehicle, killing the other driver.
For those who think it’s harmless to be a little sleepy behind the wheel, it’s important to note that staying awake for 18 hours and then driving has the same effect as driving legally drunk, says Teen Driver Source. And according to Burnaby Now, people increase their chances of falling asleep and causing an accident if they drive long stretches on boring roads, drive alone for an extended time or drive when they should be asleep.
To reduce the risk of falling asleep while driving, AAA has provided a few tips:
– Get enough sleep the night before a trip.
– Don’t drive during times you’d normally be asleep.
– Take breaks and walk around every couple of hours.
– Drive with an alert passenger.
Responsible, safe and alert driving goes far beyond merely having a cup of coffee to take the edge off of sleepiness.
Even the most careful of drivers can be blindsided by a fatigued driver. Car accidents can result in tens of thousands of dollars in medical or funeral expenses. If you or a family member has been affected by someone who fell asleep while driving, you are entitled to seek compensation for your expenses. It’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately if you’re the victim of a car accident that was not your fault.
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Jason Stone’s MA Personal Injury Lawyers advise anyone who is feeling fatigue to avoid driving. If you are injured from a motor vehicle accident due to a sleepy driver, we encourage you to discuss their legal rights with an attorney.